It has been one week since the world was left in a state of shock following the results of a referendum in the United Kingdom to exit the European Union, with many debates continuing from campaigners about the long-lasting effects a decision like this could have on the world. Stock markets continue to crash, and the political establishment enters into a state of uncertainty, all whilst Britain can’t seem to find a leader to guide them through this challenging time.
As news spreads to each corner of the planet, continued rhetoric from the mainstream media dominates public opinion on the issue, with many forgetting to stop and remember how Britain was led into membership in the first place. The establishment continues to push the longevity of Britain within this political and economic body, whilst disguising the fact that the EU has been a calculated attempt to build a federal superstate from day one.
In the following feature, Ethan Nash re-examines the history of the EU, from the early days of united trading in Europe, to the rise of a powerful Anglo-American political lobby behind the original campaign, and the vested interests that continue to control the EU and benefit from the current European financial crisis.
BACKGROUND: WHAT IS THE EU?
The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states, originally established after World War II (WWII) with the intention of ‘ensuring the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital within the internal market’.
At the time, campaign messages of ‘free movement’ were also coupled with a unified message across the world of ‘the dangers of nationalism’ after Germany and France had risen to power. Through this, the eventual rise of the EU would subsequently enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and would lead to maintaining common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development.
The EU operates through a hybrid system of supranational and intergovernmental decision-making. It is split up into seven principal decision-making bodies, known as the institutions of the European Union, which include: The European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the European Court of Auditors.
Today, the European Union – an organisation that appears on the surface to be a democratic think-tank and a body that is pivotal in the economic and political landscape of Europe – is controlled and funded by unelected corporate interests, such as Goldman Sachs, who have even openly donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the campaign to keep Britain in the EU before the recent referendum. These vested interests have been directly influencing EU policy-making for decades now, leading to the current economic crisis in countries like Greece and Spain, and originate from a documented history of federalist campaigners following WWII.
HISTORY – FORMING A ‘UNITED EUROPE’:
These original countries consisted of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, West Germany and Italy, after the Treaty of Rome initially pushed for the progressive reduction of customs duties and the establishment of a customs union.
Britain would join these organisations decades later, and this union would lead to the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union in 1993 and introduced European citizenship. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU – the Treaty of Lisbon – came into force in 2009, and since the formation of the EU, the original nations and its successors have all grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit.
Britain was instrumental in the success of the ECSC and EEC, and in mainstream academia today, the narrative of Britain joining either group is based on the notion that the country was in economic straits after WWII, and that the European Economic Community – as it was then called – provided an economic engine which could revitalise the economy. Other historians, on the contrary, seem to believe that after the WWII, Britain needed to recast her geopolitical position away from empire, and towards a more ‘realistic one at the heart of Europe’.
Neither of these arguments, however, makes any sense at all.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the EEC was in no position to restore value to any country or their economy, as it spent most of its meagre resources at the time on agriculture and fisheries, and had no means or policies to generate economic growth.
Growth in Europe came primarily from Ludwig Erhard’s supply-side reforms in West Germany in 1948 and was followed by Thatcher’s privatisation of nationalised industry in the Eighties, with many reforms introduced by individual countries which were copied elsewhere. As a result, EU policy has always been either irrelevant or positively detrimental, as was the case with the euro.
In fact, British growth was never substantially behind Europe following WWII, and in most cases, surged ahead with continued national innovation. In the 1950s – according to average estimations in European universities – Western Europe had a growth rate of 3.5%, and in the 1960s, it was 4.5%. Some estimates also suggest that when Harold Macmillan took office, the real annual growth rate of British GDP, according to the Office of National Statistics, was almost 6%. It was again almost 6% when de Gaulle vetoed Britain’s first application to join the EEC in 1963.
Britain would eventually join the EEC in 1973, at a time when annual national growth rate in real terms was a record 7.4%, a number that the present Chancellor could only dream of in an EU-centred economic field, and forms the catalyst for a formal rebuttal to the notion that Britain joined the EEC on the grounds of ‘economic growth’.
The second argument, based on Britain’s apparent need to ‘play a key part’ in the political landscape of post-WWII Britain, is also based on flawed logic, as the allied countries involved held little to no influence in world affairs at the time of formation, thus basing the campaign on a combination of misinformation and fear mongering tactics by the anti-nationalist establishment.
Professor Alan Sked, Professor of International History at the London School of Economics, said in a research piece about the underlying push of ‘Brexit’ campaign, that the economic and political problems of Europe today originate from the flawed logic in the initial push for a ‘united Europe’:
What about geopolitics? What argument in the cold light of hindsight could have been so compelling as to make us kick our Second-World-War Commonwealth allies in the teeth to join a combination of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany and Italy?
Four of these countries held no international weight whatsoever. Germany was occupied and divided. France, meanwhile, had lost one colonial war in Vietnam and another in Algeria. De Gaulle had come to power to save the country from civil war. Most realists must surely have regarded these states as a bunch of losers…
It is clear with correct historical inquiry that during the time of significant lobbying to ‘unite Europe’ following the war, Britain was an economic powerhouse that had democratic political institutions, world trade links, cheap food from the Commonwealth, and was a global power.
Why would it want to enter the EEC?
BEHIND THE PUSH FOR A ‘UNITED EUROPE’:
The reality is, when Harold Macmillan took office as Prime Minister in 1957, he (along with advisers around him) was part of an intellectual tradition that saw European leaders push for a world government based on regional federations dating back to World War I. He was also a close acquaintance of Jean Monnet, who believed the same.
It was therefore Macmillan who became the representative of the European federalist movement in the British cabinet as Britain was beginning to thrive significantly again.
In a speech in the House of Commons he even advocated a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) before the real thing had been announced. He later arranged for a Treaty of Association to be signed between the UK and the ECSC, and it was he who ensured that a British representative was sent to the Brussels negotiations following the Messina Conference, which gave birth to the EEC.
In the late 1950s, he pushed negotiations concerning a European Free Trade Association towards membership of the EEC, and when General de Gaulle began to turn the EEC into a less federalist body, he took the risk of submitting a full British membership application in the hope of frustrating Gaullist ambitions.
His aim, in alliance with US and European proponents of a federalist world order, was to frustrate the emerging Franco-German alliance which was seen as one of French and German nationalism. Monnet met secretly with Heath and Macmillan on innumerable occasions to facilitate British entry.
Indeed, he was informed before the British Parliament of the terms in which the British approach to Europe would be framed, and despite advice from the Lord Chancellor, Lord Kilmuir, that membership would mean the end of British parliamentary sovereignty, Macmillan deliberately misled the House of Commons — and practically everyone else, from Commonwealth statesmen to cabinet colleagues and the public — that merely minor commercial negotiations were involved.
He even tried to deceive de Gaulle that he was an anti-federalist and a close friend who would arrange for France, like Britain, to receive Polaris missiles from the Americans. De Gaulle saw completely through him and vetoed the British bid to enter.
Macmillan left Edward Heath to take matters forward, and Heath, along with Douglas Hurd, arranged — according to the Monnet papers — for the Tory Party to become a (secret) corporate member of Monnet’s Action Committee for a United States of Europe.
According to Monnet’s chief aide and biographer, Francois Duchene, both the Labour and Liberal Parties later did the same. Meanwhile the Earl of Gosford, one of Macmillan’s foreign policy ministers in the House of Lords, actually informed the House that the aim of the government’s foreign policy was world government.
Monnet’s Action Committee was also given financial backing by the CIA and the US State Department, as the Anglo-American establishment was now committed to the creation of a federal United States of Europe.
EUROPE TODAY AND THE FINANCIAL CRISIS:
In the end, all attempts to block a fear-based, media-driven campaign towards joining the EEC were unsuccessful, and this would eventually lead to the formal establishment of the European Union in 1993. Soon after, a monetary union was established in 1999, came into full force in 2002, and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the Euro currency.
This corporate economic and political monopoly, now influenced by powerful international lobby groups and banking interests like Goldman Sachs, has directly resulted in the multi-year debt crisis that has been taking place in the European Union since the end of 2009.
Several Eurozone member states, such as Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus, found themselves in a position where they couldn’t repay or refinance their government debt or bail out over-indebted banks under their own national supervision. This is a situation directly caused by an economical ‘spider web’ effect that ensured through the erosion of national sovereignty that member states would have to rely on third parties like other Eurozone countries, the European Central Bank (ECB), or the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This would lead to a worldwide implementation of austerity measures, a term originally coined in a 2010 paper by Harvard’s Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. The supposed moral of their story was that if a country’s ratio of debt to gross domestic product (debt/GDP) exceeded 90%, economic growth would cease. This was a theory heavily criticised in economic fields but supported by powerful political lobbyists saying the world needed to cut deficits even though they were deep in a recession and jobless recovery.
However, shortly after this was released, a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst – Thomas Herndon – exposed the errors of the two famous Harvard economists. He explaining how even though Reinhart and Rogoff had previously published their data, they had never released the spreadsheet with the actual calculations until Herndon asked them for it, would subsequently find that five countries had been omitted from the analysis between 1800 and 2010 – meaning the calculations to base the theory were fraudulent.
In fact, it was discovered that the only beneficiary parties from the implication of austerity measures conveniently happened to be the vested interests implementing it, and this is why the European Union was quick to implement this system of failed logic. Notably, the United Kingdom and the Eurozone were the first to test the theory, with both returning to recession.
Indeed, many world-renowned economists agree that the only viable solution to solve the current economic crisis in Europe is for individual countries to regain national control over economic policy and trade negotiations; however this can only be achieved if a country with self-sustaining capabilities – such as the United Kingdom – withdraws from the union first.
Couple this problem with the obvious difficulties of the Eurozone, the failure of EU migration policy and the lack of any coherent EU security policy; one can start to formulate an opinion as to why the establishment is so quick to hide some of these underlying discussions. Indeed, the only way to get a better understanding of why the United Kingdom needs to leave the European Union, and to ensure any real progress is made on openly discussing these surface arguments, is to allow the UK the freedom to discuss without the influence of a corporate, controlled body influencing the information.
This is why the establishment is already at work attempting to prove that any return to democratic self-government on the part of Britain will spell doom, with American officials primed to state that such a move would see Britain be excluded from any free trade deal with the USA and that the world needs the TTIP trade treaty which is predicated on the survival of the EU.
Despite this, and in the face of the full force of media and government propaganda, it seems the international coalition – one that started many years ago behind Macmillan and Heath – will find things a lot more difficult this time round. An informed majority of the United Kingdom, through many years of continued exploitation from the European Union and the lesson of being fooled once in the past, will be much more difficult to fool again going forward.
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Goldman To Help Bankroll EU ‘In’ Campaign: http://news.sky.com/story/1626560/goldman-to-help-bankroll-eu-in-campaign
The EU’s architects never meant it to be a democracy: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/8886498/The-EUs-architects-never-meant-it-to-be-a-democracy.html
Euro-federalists financed by US spy chiefs: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/1356047/Euro-federalists-financed-by-US-spy-chiefs.html
The Beginning of the End for Austerity: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/04/24/why-austerity-isnt-the-solution-to-high-debt
Meet the grad student who upended the GOP: http://www.salon.com/2013/04/21/meet_the_economics_whiz_who_outed_rr_partner/
Seven lessons from Britain’s 1975 EEC referendum: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/11652504/Seven-lessons-from-Britains-1975-EEC-referendum.html